Olefins Recovery Process by Air Products and Chemicals

Application: Recover high-purity hydrogen (H2) and C2 + liquid products from refinery offgases using cryogenics.

Description: Cryogenic separation of refinery offgases and purges containing 10%– 80% H2 and 15% – 40% hydrocarbon liquids such as ethylene, ethane, propylene, propane and butanes. Refinery offgases are optionally compressed and then pretreated (1) to remove sulfur, carbon dioxide ( CO2 ), H2 O and other trace impurities. Treated feed is partially condensed in an integrated multi-passage exchanger system (2) against returning products and refrigerant.

Separated liquids are sent to a demethanizer (3) for stabilization while hydrogen is concentrated (4) to 90% – 95%+ purity by further cooling. Methane, other impurities, and unrecovered products are sent to fuel or optionally split into a synthetic natural gas (SNG) product and low-Btu fuel. Refrigeration is provided by a closed-loop system (5). Mixed C2 + liquids from the demethanizer can be further fractionated (6) into finished petrochemical feeds and products such as ethane, ethylene, propane and propylene.

Operating conditions: Feed capacities from 10 to 150+ million scfd. Feed pressures as low as 150 psig. Ethylene recoveries are greater than 95%, with higher recoveries of ethane and heavier components. Hydrogen recoveries are better than 95% recovery.

Economics: Hydrogen is economically co-produced with liquid hydrocarbon products, especially ethylene and propylene, whose high value can subsidize the capital investment. High hydrocarbon liquid products recovery is achieved without the cost for feed compression and subsequent feed expansion to fuel pressure. Power consumption is a function of hydrocarbon quantities in the feed and feed pressure. High-purity hydrogen is produced without the investment for a “back-end” PSA system. Project costs can have less than a two-year simple payback.

Licensor: Air Products and Chemicals Inc.